NBC’s new rom-com A-Z is like the small screen version of 500 Days of Summer. At its center, the adorable Cristin Milioti, the mother from How I Met your Mother, as Zelda, and Ben Feldman, my future boyfriend as Andrew. Narrated by Katy Segal, the show documents Andrew and Zelda’s relationship from their first encounter, to their ultimate breakup over the course of eight months.
The show is getting plenty of buzz. Apparently I’m not the only one who is totally gaga for Feldman. And the only thing cuter than Andrew (and Zelda, fine) are the clothes, meticulously picked out by A-Z costume designer Mary Kate Kililea.
Before the show airs October 2, I wanted to talk to Mary Kate about Zelda’s charming A-Z fashion (and maybe get Ben Feldman’s number while I was at it. I didn’t. Drats.)
Possessionista: How would you describe Zelda’s style?
Mary-Kate Killilea: She is classic with a very modern twist. Great necklines, colors and silhouettes. Very modern jewelry but never flashy. Whenever I am considering an item for Zelda I literally ask myself – if Audrey Hepburn was a lawyer, – would she wear this? We carry that mantra through to her casual and date looks.
Possessionista: Where do you shop for Zelda?
Possessionista: What are your go to brands?
MKK: So Many! We have multiple pieces from all of these brands J Crew, Theory, Rag and Bone, Stella McCartney, Narcisco Rodriguez, H&M, Ann Taylor (game changing shoes for Cristin – so chic and so comfortable), Brooks Brothers (the shirts are amazing)
Possessionista: Does Zelda have a signature look or accessory?
MKK: Because Cristin’s hair is up for many of her work looks, I always try and have an amazing earring for her. We also love a good sheath dress.
Possessionista: How collaborative is your wardrobe process? On a new show, there’s often a learning curve between the actors and the stylist. How much input does Cristin have on Zelda’s wardrobe?
MKK: Cristin and I were on the same page from the first conversation. We actually had one huge, gigantic fitting and loved everything. And the network and producers all agreed. We’re on episode 6 and we haven’t bought a thing for her since then. She and I speak about each episode and are usually really excited to finally wear something out of her closet. We have fun with it.
Possessionista: Zelda works as an attorney. How does her off-work look differ from her professional style.
MKK: She always dresses appropriately for where she is going. Never overdressed or too trendy. Her casual style is more fun with a bit more colorful with a youthful, more trendy accent (like a leather trim), than she would do in the office. She stays sophisticated and her silhouette still has a classic feel.
Possessionista: Zelda’s best friend and roommate Stephie has very different style. How would you describe it? What are some unexpected ways their style is similar? Do you think Zelda and Stephie would ever share clothes?
MKK: Stephie’s is confident and free spirited and her clothes reflect that. She wears bold prints and colors, feminine soft shirts, amazing statement jewelry. She loves a good belt on a pencil skirt. She wants to stand out, but she is smart and does it in a tasteful way. I love that she is wearing some separates instead of just a boring suit. Of course when she goes to court she does, but she’s not afraid to stand out and make a statement. Her casual look is very free spirited, flighty and cool. Lots of long skirts and tees, and free people. I think Zelda would wear one of Stephie’s comfy sweater coats or cute maxi dresses. Maybe a piece of jewelry here or there.
Possessionista: If viewers want to dress like Zelda, what should they look for in stores? What about Stephie?
MKK: Look for classic shapes and silhouettes but with a modern detail, like a cool sleeve or a leather trim. Grab a great crisp Brooks Brothers fitted dress shirt or one from Express or J Crew and have your tailor put a spandex crotch piece to keep it snug with a pencil skirt. It’s amazing what a difference that makes. Also ankle length dress pants and sheath dresses in great colors. Never wear anything too bright or with much of a print. For Zelda it’s all about the fit. Stephie is great in skirts with soft blouses, but in brighter colors and prints. She loves a colorful jacket and a color coordinated belt and shoe. A great necklace, ring and earring but still sophisticated, never plastic.
Possessionista: How important are accessories on this show.? In the pilot, Zelda wears a great, wicker necklace. What should we watch for in terms of jewelry and shoes.
MKK: Jewelry for Zelda is more delicate in the series than in the pilot. I am constantly on the look out for great earrings and bracelets for her. I have a few designers and my own jewelry collection that I find stuff from, but I am always on the look out. Stephie’s style is bolder, bigger and more colorful and coordinated with her outfits. Her jewlery is often designed by artists locally. Today I scored a gorgeous moonstone necklace and rose quartz earring from a my local farmers market booth.
Possessionista: How will Zelda’s style evolve as she dates Adam? How will Adam’s style beinfluenced by Zelda?
MKK: I think she probably would try in the future to mark Andrew somehow. I bet it would be something classic. I’m not sure how but we all secretly do that, don’t we?
Possessionista: Dating is never easy. What are some tips for dressing for a date?
MKK: Dressing for dates is the hardest. We just did an episode where Zelda tries to get Stephie’s help on what to wear. It’s hilarious how much thought we as women put into it We overthink it and wear things that we don’t feel comfortable in and then it keeps us from feeling like ourselves and projecting who we really are. My advice is to try your hardest to not overdress and only wear something that you really feel comfortable in. If you’re wavering between a dress and a cute top, jeans and a great heel – go with the cute top. It’s ok to have a go to outfit that you know looks good on you. Think about where you’re going and what he will probably be wearing and dress appropriately. He doesn’t want to feel out of place either.
A to Z airs October 2 on NBC.
Want more A to Z fashion? Check out my preview for A to Z outfits from the premiere